Hairs Keep This Ant Cool

In the Sahara Desert, the Saharan silver ant is unusual in that it crawls out in the hottest part of the day, when most other animals are avoiding the sun. New research shows that it is the hairs shaped like triangular prisms) on the ant’s back that deflect the hottest sun, keeping the ants cool. The hairs also give the ants their silvery look.

How did the researchers discover it was the hairs that kept the ants cool? By actually shaving the hairs off the tiny ants using a sharp scalpel blade. (Wow–that’s an unusual skill!) They found shaved ants heated up in the sun, unlike the unshaved ants.

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